Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Conviction Affirmed In Law Office Murder

The Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed the conviction in a case involving the murder of a law firm employee

In April 2016, Petersen, a client of Northstar Criminal Defense, went to the law firm’s office and shot and killed the firm’s law clerk. The State initially filed a complaint charging Petersen with second-degree intentional murder. At his second court appearance, Petersen attempted to plead guilty to this charge. The district court refused to accept Petersen’s plea, however, when it learned that the State had amended its complaint to charge first-degree premeditated murder and was seeking a grand jury indictment. A grand jury indicted Petersen for first-degree murder 5 days later. Following a bench trial, the district court convicted and sentenced Petersen to life in prison without the possibility of release. Because the district court did not abuse its discretion in rejecting the plea, and because the circumstantial evidence is consistent with first-degree premeditated murder and inconsistent with any other rational hypothesis, we affirm.

Minnesota News Network reported on the crime. 

 A Saint Paul man faces second-degree murder charges for alleging shooting a law clerk at his attorney’s office because he was upset with how his case was being handled and couldn’t reach his lawyer. 37-year-old Ryan Peterson has a first court appearance Monday afternoon and prosecutors will ask that bail be set at one-and-a-half million dollars. 23-year-old Chase Passauer of Minneapolis was shot inside his office at North Star Criminal Defense in Saint Paul’s Cathedral Hill neighborhood. Petersen was apprehended late last night near Stillwater after a chase through Chisago and Washington counties.

The Star Tribune also had a story. (Mike Frisch)

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